Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Lions, Tigers and Pandas, oh my!

Calvin has started to laugh. Big belly laughs. Michael says it's like he's been waiting his whole life to laugh.

These are porcupines. There were a bunch of them in their little house. The picture doesn't do them justice.

She was tired at this point, and pouting a bit, but we still had to get her picute in her zebra dress with the zebras!

When you gotta go, you gotta go. She will just drop and go on the sidewalk.

Showing Mama the flowers

We were looking at big horned rams.

Lunch after the zoo. Tons of food all good, on the big lazy susan, with another adoptive family.

View from our room at night.

Ready for their American Consulate appointment. Yay, for the red, white and blue!

I'm not sure where I left off, and where to begin. I know I didn't update yesterday, but it all sort of runs together, and blurs, and with the time change it's hard to remember, what day is it?

Yesterday, we visited the zoo. We did that last time here, and we had planned to skip it, and try the safari that is not to far away on our own. However, we reconsidered, because that is a longer day trip, and cost quite a bit more, and the zoo was a short ride from the hotel, and included. So, to the zoo we went. It's been fun having the other families this time. We were alone the last time, and in both provinces this time, so its new for us. They are all really amazing people, and adorable children. Adoptive families pretty much are awesome folks. We took a little ride around on a..... I can't think of the word right now, lol but an oversized golf cart. It gave a brief tour of the large zoo. Then we were free to wander for a couple of hours. Calvin hung out with Daddy, and he carried him the whole time, which was a nice change, and great progress. Georgia walked with me. She did great, but by the end was really tired and complaining a little about her one leg. We saw monkeys, tigers, a white tiger, giraffes, and zebras, alligators, and all sort of cats, like lynx and leopards. We also saw the panda bear! They just don't even look real to me, like giant stuffed toys that move, lol. One funny thing, was they had a really big raccoon habitat. With lots of raccoons. We have lots of those just loose at home. Always trying to get into the trash or dog food etc... not so exciting for us, lol.  After the zoo, we all went to eat lunch together, at a real Chinese restaurant. One with the big lazy susan in the middle.  We actually had two tables for all the families. We sat with another family who adopted two 13 year old girls this trip. Super family! The food was delicious, the guides ordered for us, and the food just kept coming. We had sweet and sour pork, veggie and noodle dish, some type of green been sprouts, that tasted both like green beans, but sprouty (I know that isn't a real word, lol) and had hundred year old eggs on top. Hundred year old eggs, look like hard boiled eggs, but are black,lol. I didn't try the egg, as I don't egg at all, but Michael said it tasted like regular egg?  You could google it to see what it looks like.  We had fried rice, and two kinds of dumplings, and some kind of beef dish, and two kinds of pancakes. One savory, one with black sesame seed that was very sweet. great meal. Then the kids were overdue for a nap so we came back to the room. Rested. When they woke up we watched the happy goat for awhile (google it, lol) and then just walked down the street for some take out. Michael and I were able to stream some netflix and then, we all went to bed early because we had to be in the lobby today by 9am to leave for the American consulate. I was up by 6 today, neither of us slept great. Part in anticipation of today, part of being ready to go home. We headed to down to breakfast a little before 8, and then met the other family and our guide for the short ride to the consulate.  The American consulate is on the fifth floor of this huge office building. It's kind of dark and dirty and not what you (or what I,lol) imagine when I think of the American consulate. I have these ideas of a beautiful compound with the big gate out front that you could run up to, yelling I'm an American! and they'd help you, lol. I may have watched the Saint to many times though.

US consulate Guangzhou

Anyway, it doesn't look anything like that. You go into this nondescript office building take the elevator to the 4th floor. Where you get in line and they check your passport against the appointment list. Or for the locals, who are here hoping to get a visa to the US, they line up outside and get a number that they have to present to the guards, they let a few go up at a time. Once you get through that line, you take an escalator up to the next floor, and go through a security check much like the airport, xray, put your bag through the machine, walk through the scanner etc... then down the hall to a room marked adoptions. We all take a seat, their are 10 families allowed at each appointment time, and two appointments each day M-TH. There is only one other family left in our group of 7. The other's all had their appt. M or Tue. 4 families will leave. All will leave today, except us and 2 other. We all head to Hong Kong tomorrow.  So we sit and wait for 30 minutes, and then a American comes and speaks, explains a few things, and then asks us all to stand and raise our right hands on behalf of our children and we swear an oath for them.  It is simple and fast, and it still made me teary for a moment. Then, we all sit back down, and wait for our names to be called. We are second to last. They start with Calvin's file, and everything looks right, passes. And she gives us back some forms and tells us we can have his visa picked up tomorrow afternoon. Then, she starts looking at Georgia's. On the way to the consulate, our guide Rebecca tells us that when they reviewed the paperwork on Sunday, they realized their was a problem. You see in the child's province when the adoption is finalized, you go to the notary, and you get three notarized documents. The adoption certificate, their birth certificate (which is really just a form saying this is their birth date, but the place, time and parents are unknown), and an abandonment certificate, that says this child was left xxxx place, and time, and circumstances, that they searched and haven't found any relatives and is truly an orphan and available for adoption (they are trying to prevent child trafficking), Well, on Georgia's abandonment certificate, it was signed and notarized but not dated! They didn't tell us until today, because they didn't want us worried, when we couldn't do anything about it, but they had call our guide in Jinan, and he got another dated set on Monday and overnighted them here. He also faxed a copy of the new ones. Well, on the way to the consulate, Rebecca explains all this to us, and that they had NOT arrived yet, and that they had promised they would be here today, and that hopefully the consulate would issue her visa with the ones we had. Our guide isn't allowed up into the room with us, so when the lady started reviewing Georgia's paperwork, I held my breath a little. She mentioned the date not being there, she knew and had spoken to our guide already. She went to talk to the consulate officer to see if she could stamp it (accept it) as it was, and she was gone a long time. Our friend, the other family waited for us, so nice :) Finally, she came back and asked if we were sure the originals would come today and I said, Yes. (Hoping!) And she ok, make sure it gets here because without the dated original they wouldn't issue Georgia's immigration visa. Which means she can't leave the country, which would be a huge problem, because the consulate closes on Friday for Chinese New Year for 10! days! So she said we could leave, and have the guide bring the papers when they get here.  On the way back to the hotel, the guide tells me she's talked with the transport company, and they have the papers and they will be at the hotel by 11, well that was like 5 mins. away, and when we got here they still weren't here, but she promised to call us in the room when they arrived. They arrived about 30 mins later PRAISE GOD! and she is taking them to the consulate this afternoon at 3, when she picks up the family's from yesterdays appointments visas.  So everything is fine, and whew. Tommorrow, we will get both kid's immigration visas, and when they touch US soil they immediately become citizens! We really had wished we had an appointment yesterday, both our family and the other one today, our guides had tried to get Tue. appt's but they were full. It meant that we had to stay here one extra day, which is why we've had free days the last two days. However, if we had had that earlier appointment and a flight out this am, we would have never had the new papers in time, and would have missed our flights out of Hong Kong. God knows every bit of this journey, every stop, and bump, and he is watching over us. We again are so so thankful for your prayers. We need every one of them. Tommorow, is packing, and waiting and at 4:30 pm, that will be 3:30 am Thurs morning for ya'll we will board a van for Hong Kong, our first step home!

1 comment:

  1. The true final stretch! God is good! I'm so pleased Georgia's papers made it ! Praying for you as you start your journey home!